Bai Tian, China’s ambassador to Malaysia, wrote a lengthy post on Friday, May 31, about the decades-long friendship between the two nations on the Facebook account of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia.
Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the keynote speaker at the 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia forum on Thursday, May 30, in Tokyo, Japan, where he announced that Malaysia will be using Huawei products “as much as possible” despite concerns from the United States over security due to accusations of espionage.
The US blacklisted the Chinese tech giant last month, a move that China protested and called “unconstitutional,” and intensified trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Dr Mahathir, however, acknowledged Huawei’s superiority in the area of technology. He said, “Huawei has got tremendous advance over American technology. While there is room for competition, it should not lead to war. So sometimes, there is competition … if sometimes the East wins, that’s okay. But, going to war is not the solution.”
During the course of his speech, Dr Mahathir encouraged various nations to settle their differences with China not by force but through negotiations: “We had several new world orders and they all seemed to have failed. And, they have failed because we are still quite primitive. We are still relatively uncivilised. We think that conflicts can be resolved through confrontation, war, destruction, and killing of people.”
Just one day after Dr Mahathir’s speech, Ambassador Bai wrote a post entitled, “Friendship Forever China – Malaysia.”
It was not just an ordinary post, but indeed a “Signed article from Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Malaysia, Bai Tian.”
Ambassador Bai traced the history of the two nations’ friendship, which started 45 years ago with the second prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Haji Abdul Razak Dato’ Hussein.
“It was during this visit that China and Malaysia officially established diplomatic relations and ushered in a new era of friendly exchanges between two ancient civilizations.”
According to Ambassador Bai, since then, “friendly exchanges at all levels have blossomed.”
He made mention of “dialogue and cooperation mechanisms” in such fields as diplomacy, economy, trade, agriculture, defense, and security.
While the Chinese Ambassador did not directly relate his post to the speech from Dr Mahathir in Japan the day before, he also mentioned that the Prime Minister had visited China nine times in the past, including a recent visit this year wherein “Tun Mahathir visited China to attend the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRFIC). On the sidelines, Tun Mahathir had meetings with the Chinese national leaders and exchanged views on the new grand blueprint for China-Malaysia cooperation.”
The ambassador compared the amount of trade volume between the two countries from the time of the first meeting up to last year. “45 years ago, the bilateral trade volume between China and Malaysia was only 159 million US dollars. By 2018, it has surged to 108.6 billion US dollars, increasing by more than 600 times.”
He added that China is now “Malaysia’s largest tourist source country out of ASEAN for seven consecutive years,” with over 4.2 million tourists flying in and out of the two countries every year.
Ambassador Bai compared the friendship between the two nations to a tree.
“Political mutual trust would be the soil for the planting of the tree. The successive leaders of the two countries have played an important guiding role in promoting China-Malaysia friendship.”
He acknowledged that the two countries have not always seen eye to eye, and yet have sought to resolve differences amicably, echoing Dr Mahathir’s speech the day before, that “going to war is not the solution.”
“The governments of both sides have always adhered to the principles of mutual equality, mutual respect, mutual trust and sincerity to each other. Perhaps we do not agree on every issue, but the two sides have always insisted on handling differences through friendly consultations, building up consensus and mutual trust.”
He expressed confidence that China and Malaysia will always enjoy good relations because of the good leadership both countries have. “No matter how the situation changes, the great foresight of the leaders of the two countries and the deepening political trust between the two countries will safeguard the healthy development of China-Malaysia relations.”
Apparently, Malaysians have the most favourable view of China among countries in the ASEAN. The ambassador wrote that over 70 percent of Malaysians see China favourably. Furthermore, he wrote, “The over 6 million Chinese Malaysians even play a special role in promoting China-Malaysia friendly relations.”
Ambassador Bai also wrote about the ambitions both nations have at present. “Now China is striving for the dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan government also proposed the ‘Shared Prosperity 2030’ recently. China and Malaysia, as old friends, is facing new situations and opportunities.”
He ended his post by writing, “May the friendship between China and Malaysia remain fresh forever.”/ TISG